Saturday, 23 July 2016

Tyseley: "Rood Ashton" Brews Up...

Hi all. Today saw me making another jaunt over to Tyseley to help with the preparation of GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 No4965 "Rood Ashton Hall". I arrived at the site of the former 84E shed at just before 10am, having stopped off on route to collect breakfast from the Tyseley Corner Cafe. This made a nice change from the increasingly regular McDonalds menu and I can heartily recommend this cafe if you're ever in the area! These sandwiches were just what I needed to start the day!...
"A Beautiful Breakfast"
Stomach satisfied, I changed into my overalls before wandering down to the Mess Room. The Hall was waiting patiently on her road when I arrived, with the 08' ticking over outside. The 4-6-0 was then dragged out into the warm morning air ready for preparation to begin. The engine had been cleaned out during the week and so a check-over was all that was necessary before lighting the fire. A traditional warming fire was laid in the box, rising up around the back corners in order to bring the engine around slowly. To my surprise, she was still warm from last Sunday's efforts: must be a well lagged boiler! With the engine now crackling away to herself, efforts turned to cleaning her and later shunting the stock...
The shunting again involved the Class 08 and the signalbox. In an effort to further increase my knowledge of the signalbox, I offered to work it during the shunting operations. There are a few things to remember, particularly when dealing with the motor points and FPL's, but the set-up generally allows you to succeed providing you do everything in the required order. I certainly felt more confident with the frame this week. Later in the day, with the stock shunted and waiting on No1 platform road behind the Class 08, 4965 was brewing up nicely on the shed. The engine doesn't move during the prep: the oiling, cleaning and checking is done whilst stationary. This provides a good opportunity to try and photograph the engine whilst she lazes around in the afternoon sun. I have said it before and I'll say it again - 4965 is a very photogenic engine...
"4965 Rood Ashton Hall" Brews Up On Shed
And this weeks "Boredom Corner" concludes with my rendition of the 4965 story. Built in 1929 at Swindon, 4965 was once thought to have been cut-up. (Gasps from the side lines!). The Tyseley team actually purchased what they thought was No4983 "Albert Hall" when they chose a Hall from Barry Scrapyard in 1970. When restoration of the so called '4983' began, the engineers involved came across plenty of reasons that led to her being dubbed an impostor. Many parts that were once stamped 65' were now stamped 83' and the Swindon works records revealed some unusual goings on. 4983 had revisited the works on a few regular occasions for undisclosed reasons and her boiler hadn't been more than 9 months fresh from a major overhaul when the switch is believed to have occurred. 4965 was marked as being condemned and cut up in 1962. However, what is obvious from the framing and the tender is that they are in fact from 4965. The boiler on the other hand is from 4983. 

The only conclusion that can be reached is that "Albert Hall" was either an unlucky engine which regularly came into bother or that she had a condemned bottom end, whilst 4965 had the better of the latter but needed a fresh boiler. What has essentially happened is that two poorly engines have been brought together to provide one good one. Its an interesting tale but one that, despite many debates, definitely shows that 4965 is the unlikely survivor, despite the notes that she was scrapped. Boiler swapping was by no means uncommon in steam days as they were swapped regularly during general works, hence the standardisation of parts. However, what is unusual is that the identity of the loco was swapped despite the only piece of 4983 being the boiler she last carried. Anyhow, that's the basic story. I'm sure there is more to be read about it online but I think it certainly provides some interest to the engine. Anyway, after a good day I returned home at just after 5pm. Many thanks for reading folks, Sam...

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